7 Barbados First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

We stayed at the Premier Inn Gatwick the night before our flight (TOM024). Turned out to be a great idea and at just £39 for the night, excellent value to boot. We ate in the restaurant which had a nice atmosphere and some of the ... Read More
We stayed at the Premier Inn Gatwick the night before our flight (TOM024). Turned out to be a great idea and at just £39 for the night, excellent value to boot. We ate in the restaurant which had a nice atmosphere and some of the friendliest staff I've come across in similar hotels. Overall score for hotel: 11/10 We nipped across the road to the terminal just two hours before the flight and there were just three families ahead of us in the queue. I was sad to hear an old couple's tale who - not being internet savvy - hadn't realised that they had to book (and pay) for seats (together) despite 'upgrading' to Premium via their travel agent. This saw them sitting apart for the 8 hour journey. Cheap tactics by P&O (with whom we are contracted with, not Thomson). Overall airport experience (ours, not the old dears) score: 10/10 Onboard on time and a nice new aircraft. The 3-4-3 config is a pain if you need to go to the loo often (oh, the struggles of being a 50-year-old man :-)). We had 13A/B both ways which, in hindsight were a poor choice for above mentioned reason. Should have gone for 13B/C for easy access. Shortage of loos and iffy configuration make for a clunky aircraft layout. No crossing over at any point except at rear of aircraft. The staff were quite pointed about this and it was very much a charter level of service. Cheapo headphones handed out (you need to keep them for the return trip!) and drinks service begins. The inflight mag starts off by saying that "the first drink is on us". But it isn't. Cabin crew response; "Oh, you're P&O charter so you have to pay for everything". Nice. Feels like I'm flying Ryanair. And please remember; P&O make these rules, not Thomsons. Cheap, very cheap, unlike the cruise. Food, both ways, actually pretty good. No choice; get what you're given. Overall flight/service score: 6/10 Uneventful flight (one film watched) and - after a short delay while the aircraft arrival team were found - we were led off to awaiting buses. Ours, a 1960s number, was a bit scruffy and didn't have A/C but I assumed that was because P&O got it for 30p cheaper than a newer version. Windows all wedged open, off we set. Arrived safely at the terminal which was a bit less modern than I imagined, but it did the job and we were soon through security (look out for the washing up bowls to stick your stuff through the X-ray machine on) on the ship. Overall transfer/check in score: 7/10 Our balcony cabin, F402, came with a sofa and we were glad we'd paid the little extra for this. - Excellent TV with some hi-def channels. - Small but perfectly formed shower room/loo. Good lighting, decent towels. Smart toiletries (The White Co.) which were replenished on request. - Good comfy bed and linen, changed once a week. - Balcony, fine for us but heard others complain it was smaller than normal. - General hotel-style feel to the room. Overall score for room/service: 10/10 Because we arrived on the 'second' day, it was less hectic with few people hanging around for flights. We had a mooch around to suss stuff out. Cases turned up at 7.45pm, three hours after we did, after we gave our very helpful/friendly cabin boy a friendly nudge. Breakfast: Great. Something for everyone. 9/10 (good toast would have meant a perfect 10) Buffet: Plentiful, generally aways piping hot (if it should be) and perfectly OK. Not great on seasoning but understandably they are catering to the lowest common denominator and many don't like salt/pepper etc. Felt like they had gone a bit mad on turkey/Christmas food as hard to escape it. 8/10 Buffet 'late night snacks' Pretty uninspiring and basically the days' leftovers (confirmed by staff) with pizza/chips added. 5/10 Epicurean Absolutely great. Food, service and ambience. A 'must do'. 10/10 Beach house Not sure why it's called the 'Beach house' as it's effectively the back bit of the buffet where P&O have established they can rake a few extra quid in. Better than the buffet but not great for what you pay. 7/10 Sindhu Nice ambience, good food but lacking a spice 'kick'. Great tho to escape the usual. 9/10 Peninsular Freedom dining venue, perfectly OK. Decent offering. Always happy to help. 8/10 Limelight (Jackie G) Seated at back of room so a little 'out of it'. No bread served despite a European menu. Quite wedding banquet-ish in terms of service. Jackie G gets a 7/10. Mad as a box of monkeys (in a nice way). 8/10 Bars/wine waiters Spot on. Pub prices and decent house wine (always available yet cunningly not on all menus!). 10/10 Stuff to do We love a swimming pool but the ones on 16 were a bit Benidorm-ish due to the fact that the loungers were mostly 'reserved' with a towel (pegged on), book and personal items from 6.45/7 then unused for hours until the bleary-eyed mob came along to claim them. Personally witnessed beds reserved and unused for 6 hours+. P&O give the blurb that this isn't allowed them say 'get on with it' doing nothing to police. Lazy and left a sour flavour, every day. 4/10 Entertainment Top-class. Shows amazing. Went to many of the 'early' shows to guarantee a seat. Brilliantly done. I thought I would hate the 'big' sail away party but decided to give it a go. Toe-curling and cheesy but excellent fun at the same time. Loved 'waving' goodbye to leaving ships alongside who seemed to love the cheers too. It's a 'must see'. 11/10 Last day The last day was a but undignified. Tossed out of your cabin at 8am (cases the night before) saw cabin baggage suitcases a over the place. People showering by pool/getting dressed etc. Even saw a lady with full set of curlers in. Buffet packed and generally all a bit messy. Wish i could have fast-forwarded past this bit. Disembarkation very smooth (newish bus too). Airport a bit crappy (not enough seats) and no usable wifi. Flight home uneventful. Bags on carousel quickly. In conclusion, great ship, amazing entertainment, decent food and a good opportunity to see lots of different places. Would we cruise again? Probably not. At least not this side of 60 and not on a P&O vessel as we'd have liked a more cosmopolitan bunch from different parts of the world. The crowd just weren't who we wanted to be around. Horses for courses and all that. It would be a dull world if we all liked the same stuff. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
THE GOOD Thomas Cooke gave us an excellent meal on both our flights, we are vegan. Cabin (G508) was adequate for sleeping, beds were comfortable, bathroom compact and bijou and balcony superb for drying swimwear. The launderettes ... Read More
THE GOOD Thomas Cooke gave us an excellent meal on both our flights, we are vegan. Cabin (G508) was adequate for sleeping, beds were comfortable, bathroom compact and bijou and balcony superb for drying swimwear. The launderettes are a marvel and if you do your laundry in the early afternoon nobody is around. On board security is some of the best I have seen with facial recognition scans in place Our Steward was MAHENDRA and he was absolutely brilliant, we had clean everything every day, toiletries were all topped up daily. He made us laugh and helped make our holiday. SIDNEY and ANTONIO in the Meridian Restaurant were excellent and deserve a special mention. We had a splendid rapport going with them and all the Meridian staff. The lifts were not a problem you always eat far too much anyway, so some exercise is good for you therefore we always used the stairs. JULIAN SMITH. The man is a marvel, and not to be missed. I don't like the saxophone and I had no idea who he was, I don't live in the UK, but he was fantastic and I am now a card carrying fan, I bought all of his albums and he made my long 48 hour journey home a lot more bearable. MANUEL MARTINEZ. I'm not fond of magicians and I'd never heard of him but he was hysterical, the magic was basic but the delivery was first class, a very very funny act. Another must-see. The Fly-Rights were the only people to actually achieve audience participation, they were very good. The Studio showed some good films. The tender was really fast and we were ashore within 5 minutes, no waiting either end, brilliant. THE BAD After a 9 hour very turbulent flight we were herded into a large shed with no air conditioning. Embarcation took over an hour. My luggage did not arrive until gone 11pm. On our second day out one of the pools was drained to half way to 'accommodate those who cannot swim', (or so I was told when I asked reception) this pool was hardly used because people thought it was broken or being drained to clear the seepages from the nappies. Britannia has 3 pools all 15' x 30', hardly sufficient for 3,500 people. With a sign that states that only 24 may use the pool at any one time!!!!! We are both vegan and I told P & O this upon booking, still the only thing we were served on our first night was chips and a salad. Our second night was rice and noodles and our third noodles and rice. After complaining loudly I was introduced to Vani, a Head Waiteress who did not know what a vegan was until she googled it, and then after that the meals improved vastly. It was pointed out to me that the chef himself was a vegan!!! I have developed a taste for indian food that will remain. The spa is grossly over priced and the girls were always loitering, looking to drum up trade. THE UGLY People reserved sun loungers despite being asked not to, I swam everyday at 6am, and on the 3 at sea days people were there ready with their towels even before I arrived! They even got their own sun-loungers in place. Children in nappies were in the pools with the expected seepages, again nobody is there to say anything. Large inflatables made swimming in that pool impossible. There was a large group of about 20 who were loud obnoxious and used foul language all the time, they left food all over the place, split their drinks and even changed a nappy on the table, leaving it on the floor under the lounger, and whilst one picked the spots on anothers back, a third picked her peel and washed it off in the water!! When we were 'mustering' the lad who was supposed to be telling what to do in the event of an emergency, laughed and spluttered the whole way through his talk. Unacceptable. People were using the Horizon Buffet dressed only in bikinis/swimsuits with bare feet, no hand washing/sanitizing at all, but then there was no-one to tell you otherwise. Britannia is a lovely ship, with delightful, helpful ever-attentive crew. Unfortunately she is less like the 5 star Pride of the Fleet that was advertised, and very much more an enormous floating Butlins. Come on P & O you will have to do a lot better if you want to retain your good name. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was out first cruise and we choose P&O because it had been recommended for the service and overall package for the price and that they target UK passengers We choose and inside cabin (as we didn't want to spend a fortune to ... Read More
This was out first cruise and we choose P&O because it had been recommended for the service and overall package for the price and that they target UK passengers We choose and inside cabin (as we didn't want to spend a fortune to fine we didn't like it). This was fine and we had all we needed (a safe, ample storage, kettle etc.). The shower room was very small but we were expecting that. The communal areas were all due for a refit and it was plainly needed as carpets etc. were very worn and faded, but overall the standard was fine. Food was plentiful and service was excellent at our main meal in the Oriental restaurant and our waiters could not be faulted. However, we booked a meal in Seventeen, the "fine dining restaurant" and couldn't have been more disappointed with the service and food. This has an additional cover charge of £28 each, so it should have been outstanding but it was completely substandard. We ended up leaving part way through the meal due to a number of issues. We reported this to the manager on site and reception. Reception asked the Restaurant manager to speak to us and he said he was ashamed at the number of issues he raised and would investigation and come back to us within two days. We asked at reception after not hearing anything for five days, and then I wrote a letter to the Captain on our last day on board. I has a call from Claire, the Customer Services Manager who said she would ask the Food and Beverage Manager to contact us ...... guess what? Yes we are still waiting ...... Terrible service and even worse response to it. It really tarnished the whole cruise for us. Other "moans" - do not go near the buffet areas unless you like fighting for food! It's full od old rude people who do not respect anyone's space. I though the English were supposed to queue, well not on P&O. Also if you fancy being a part of the basking seal brigade then you have to get up early for a sunbed!! Not for me thank you - rows of frying sausages all next to each other. There was no space around the sun beds at all. Also entertainment was a mixed bag. Some good acts like Tom O'Conner, who was actually brilliant, and some poor acts, one even being sacked (a drunk juggler who dropped everything). The Headliners act tried their best but my daughters school performances were as good! The films were old and repeated constantly, the games and quizzes were not great and the dance instructors were fine if you were old and liked being shouted at!!! Shops on board had a poor selection of overpriced non-luxury "luxury" goods. Drinks were not included, nor was there a drinks package. We did not like this as we always book all inclusive so we know we won't have to worry about a bill at the end All in all if you like your own company and can amuse yourself and are not a keen sun worshiper then you'll be fine on this cruise. We made the best of it. Credit where credit is due the embarkation process was excellent, however you did need to leave your cabin exceptionally early on the day of leaving and we had a later flight. We did like the fact that most days we were in a new place to explore so may cruise again just for this, but it will not be on P&O. We understand that mistakes can happen, but we do not appreciate the lack on response to addressing them. I hope this helps and first time cruisers. Basically do not waste your money on any of the extras. A lot of people that have been on P&O before were complaining that every time they go there is something else they need to pay for, such as wine with dinner, ice creams etc. There are no wine waiters now either.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
outward flight was ok but being x thomson crew i think they are better. we could only afford an inside cabin as xmas/new year v expensive. cabin ok, small, shower area was more like a caravan shower. 1st night was xmas eve, my birthday, ... Read More
outward flight was ok but being x thomson crew i think they are better. we could only afford an inside cabin as xmas/new year v expensive. cabin ok, small, shower area was more like a caravan shower. 1st night was xmas eve, my birthday, even though we told the waiters, nothing happened, disappointed. next night we sat at two seats of our own choice next to a lovely couple, ordered drinks, pulled crackers .. ordered starter then a waiter came over and said we could not sit there as we had been allocated somewhere else, we were escorted out in full dinner dress ..embarrassed. then escorted back in 2 mins later to be sat at a table for 2 (had asked for 8) next to the waiters entrance. we didnt get our drinks , they never arrived. this was xmas day! i could not eat my dinner, just wanted to get out. we had never received confirmation of where we were sitting. i complained and we were eventually given a table of 8 but on early sitting, (we had asked for late, booked 18 months ahead!!) food was disappointing, expected better, tried two supplement rest .. indian ok, restaurant 17, good. buffet rest fine.. but xmas very very busy, could not get sunbeds during the day, on morning took us 2.5 hrs!. could not book into spa,never seen it whole trip!.. pool area v busy, noisy, rear pool lovely but impossible to get a bed, sick of people putting towels on, no action by staff. entertainment by headliners was vv good. booked entertainers were ok, but problem in the lounges due to noisy people talking , complained but again no action by staff. (this would not have happened in a northern social club!) trips were expensive, we went on lots they were ok, but next time prob do our own thing and save money. did have lots of photos taken as we did not think we would get back, but personal choice. p@0 members club bit of a rip off, 10 pts for every night on board but u have to have 150 to be a member. so even paying for the xmas/new year cruise (most expensive) at two weeks u do not qualify. drinks prices i thought were ok, and good that u could buy duty free and drink in cabin. holiday was spoilt because they put us on early sitting for dinner 6.30 was far too early, especially if u have been on a trip and were back at 5-5.30. the serving was too rushed, they were giving us our cheese and biscuits at the same time as our dessert! we always were the last to leave on principle!! i finally got to sit in the jucassi on the last am, one lady saying she was upgraded to late sitting after complaining bitterly that she booked 6 months before! .. after telling her i had booked 18 months prev and still was put on early she shut up, but that was just the icing on the cake for me . dont go at xmas, too expensive, too busy, flight back with thomas cook through the night was awful. why p@o use them ? they must be the cheapest. talk about cattle class! the seat was broke in front of us, so could not put anything on one table, crew would not move us, i hated it! my partner wants to go on another cruise to the caribbean, but will make sure i have a balcony cabin, late sitting, and hopefully try and relax with not a full ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our first cruise and much anticipated. We boarded in Barbados where only about 50 passengers seem to board compared with the 2000 or so in San Juan. Check in was slow despite so few passengers and it took us an hour from ... Read More
This was our first cruise and much anticipated. We boarded in Barbados where only about 50 passengers seem to board compared with the 2000 or so in San Juan. Check in was slow despite so few passengers and it took us an hour from arriving in the dining room and collecting our number, to being given our sail and sign cards. We couldn't see why it was so slow, despite 5 or so staff checking in passengers at the same time. Our cabin was as expected. We had a balcony (I would now never cruise without one as we used it lots) but it was as past reviewers say, very dated in decor. It was very clean, although had not had a deep clean for a long time (think lots of dust up in the lighting, vents, etc). The bathroom was the most dated, and the old fashioned shower curtain really needs to be replaced with a screen. we took some clothes pegs which we attached to the bottom of the shower curtain to save it sticking to us when in the shower and thus causing a wet bathroom floor, but it was clear the cabin steward expected a leaky shower as towels had been rolled up around the base of the shower prior to our arrival. Our cabin steward was very attentive, although we did find a plate of half eaten food in our cabin on arrival which was a bit strange?! The ship's public areas are also very garish and quite dated. It is a great ship for a young family holiday/young couples but we would not recommend it to older guests as it can be a little loud on the Lido deck during the day/early evening with various 'fun' activities taking place. Our daughter (aged 7) enjoyed these though. Food - reasonably good but service in the MDR (Atlantic) was sooooo slow every night. You need to allow nearly 2 hours for dinner and it was not unusual to wait 45 minutes for your starter. We couldn't understand why this was as there are only a set number of meals on the menu so surely most are more or less ready to go? Also we never had a hot meal in the MDR. My daughter's chicken strips and fries were also stone cold on one night. We believe this may be because main meals are left sitting on the wait staff stations for some time before you get them and the plastic covers they use don't retain heat well. The only warmish thing we had was soup. Up on the Lido deck the buffet was good, often hotter than the MDR. However - and we thought this was a bit of a con - the food is exactly the same as the meals served in the MDR!!! we found this out one night after checking it out after our MDR meal. The advantage of the eating your evening meal on the Lido deck is it was hotter and you can choose by eye which we prefered. My husband also enjoyed having more than one dessert there. It is a real shame that the stir fry meals place is only open between 12.30 - 2pm so we did't have a chance to try those. The sandwich place is good, but again would be better if it was 24 hrs like the pizza - which was also good. wait lines were not too bad, but we had breakfast early and dinner late, so it may be busier at other times. Entertainment was poor. We saw one show which was all dancing girls circa 1980's style and not much substance. Singers were just okay, with the exception of the Carribean/Reggae band who performed during the day on deck 10. The shows are also often VERY late - around 10.15pm, which means you can't see them if you have young kids and with no babysitting service to watch over them, you still can't see them after kids are in bed. With a heavy itinery on this cruise and trying to maximise our time ashore we therefore felt that some early shows would have been better - there were only about 2 of these at 7pm all week. How people managed to burn the candle at both ends all week was beyond us, but then maybe they weren't spending much time ashore either. Photographers are a bit of a nightmare. They harrass you a bit too much. We had real difficulty in getting our photos at the end of the cruise because they weren't ready, despite us telling them several times we were disembarking at Barbados. We ended up leafing through the entire guest's photos at 7am on the morning of our disembarkation - not acceptable. I asked whether this happened to San Juan guests and I was told it does not and that they are ready the night before. So why are Barbados guests treated differently? It doesn't just end there. On arrival we had no room service menu and requested one from our room steward - it never arrived - that it, until Sunday (4 days into our cruise) when we got the same 'arrival pack' that the San Juan guests got! It also contained a 'good to know' information sheet which again we didn't get on our arrival. On disembarkation, we received a letter the night before telling us we had to be in the Adriatic Lounge at 7.30am to go through immigration to disembark at Barbados. We duly arrived and then got sent back to the Irish bar to have our forms checked and issued with a number to then return to the Adriatic Lounge. Is this a game Carnival play? Why can't they just tell guests were they need to be instead of sending us on a goose chase. We went through immigration and were told we could collect our bags (we did self assist) and then went down to the gang way at 8.30am as we had booked a day's activity in Barbados prior to our evening flight. We get down there and got told we could not leave the ship! Despite the fact that all the San Juan guests were getting off for their days's activities! It seemed so ridiculous. We refused to move as we knew we had gone through immigration and could not understand why we could not enter Barbados. My husband went up to guest services who told him that 6 families had failed to show up for immigration and so no Barbados guests could get off until everyone had been through immigration. My husband complained that this was so unfair as we turned up on time, had a tour booked which we were going to miss and also the fact that we had never been told this. All of a sudden they decided to let us off the ship! If this is the case they need to let families know that no one can leave until they have all gone through immigration so everyone turns up. I am sure some people had a lesuirely breakfast and did not realise the impact that they were having on others. I also find it unlikely that this situation in repeated in San Juan keeping the entire ship on board until EVERYONE has gone though immigration? I have never heard of passengers not being able to board a plane until everyone has gone thought immigration? All in all it was a good cruise and the ports of call are amazingly good. We just felt that Carnival really pander to the predominatley American guests who board in San Juan and we felt like second-class citizens boarding in Barbados and being from the UK for the reasons outlined above. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to cater for a great number of tastes but some of the so called entertainment certainly did not appeal to us. We were quite looking forward to having a little flutter in the casino but why oh why have they put it next to the PUB, needless to say we did not bother and for most of the cruise staff in the casino looked very bored as no one was using it. We felt the shore excursions we booked were very good and well organised. Our dining arrangements were wrong as we had booked freedom dining but after a day or so this was sorted out. Would we cruise again, probably but with a lot more research as this one really was not what we were looking for and from conversations with fellow passengers this was a very common view. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some ... Read More
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some very lovely people (how lucky we were). The gentleman was right about the sunbeds, not enough to go round and I understand that the shop had capacity for another 800 people, god only knows what it would have been like at sea on those days if you wanted to sit up top. The food was great but the customer service could have been improved. Didn't see much of anyone in authority walking round and the teenagers and some adults were diving, bombing etc despite warning notices. The staff when told at reception weren't interested, and there could have bneen a serious incident. As the prices on the cruise were offered at very reduced prices it made it very cheap for some undesirables who showed that they didn;t know how to behave on a luxury cruise liner. Bit disappointing if you had paid full price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010

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